THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is making a clarion call to the relevant authorities to take conservation and preservation of historical and heritage sites in the country more seriously, as such sites are also tourist attractions.
The statement was issued following a proposal to build a 23-storey apartment building above the 110-year-old Vivekananda Ashram in Brickfields.
“We have already lost so many heritage buildings in the past. We do not want this trend to continue as this is detrimental to tourism.
“Many tourists come to Malaysia for its unique cultural diversity. It is crucial to preserve all historical buildings that hold significant cultural meanings for the community. The Vivekananda Ashram is a heritage tourism product that attracts foreign tourists, particularly from Southern Asia and the Indian diaspora spread across the world,” MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat said.
He said although approval for listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site might take up to 10 years, the trustees could enlist the help of others to do so as it qualified as a building steeped in culture, heritage and history, with an old world charm that was in harmony with the natural surroundings of the township.
“Cities with just high-rise buildings and no historical and cultural heritage sites are places without soul. Before it is too late, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and all relevant parties should conserve and preserve our precious heritage for future generations and for the development of tourism,” he added.